Marriage counsellor sees more cases involving affairs

Marriage counsellor sees more cases involving affairs
PHOTO: The New Paper

Hiring honey trappers to save marriages may have long-lasting negative effects.

Marriage counsellor Chang-Goh Song Eng has not dealt with cases involving honey trappers, but the head of Reach Counselling says: "It is a deceiving act and deceptions like that can remain in the marriage.

"The sheer weight of having to keep that secret may be too emotionally taxing."

But Mrs Chang-Goh admits that honey trapping may work out for some people.

"Such a method may seem necessary - had they any other way, they would have tried it.

"Simply put, it is a desperate attempt to save a marriage."

She says more couples are seeking counselling due to extramarital affairs. Around seven out of every 1,000 Singaporeans aged above 20 went through divorce last year, according to the latest data published in July.

Mrs Chang-Goh adds: "We started to see this trend two years ago. In 2013, one in five cases that came to our centres involved affairs.

"Today, that number has risen to one in three.

"It could be because more people are willing to come forward to seek help. In any case, it is a worrying trend."

'AFFAIR-PROOF'

In response, her organisation started a new programme for couples to resolve their differences and "affair-proof" their marriages.

Called Torn Asunder Affair Recovery Programme, participants undergo a structured 90-day recovery process that helps them heal from affairs.

Mrs Chang-Goh says: "It is a strict programme devised by an American counsellor and requires heavy commitment from the couple."

Couples need to attend between 10 to 14 one-hour sessions weekly, where they will meet a trained counsellor together.

"A straying spouse finds comfort out of marriage as the couple do not know how to meet their needs within marriage," she explains.

"Conflicts and cold wars inadvertently push partners into hands of third parties.

"Communication problems or the lack of emotional connection have to be sorted out."

ngjunsen@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on October 18, 2015.
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